Deck #11 Folco the Grey

Folco is everywhere! I’ll move onto another type of deck next, I promise!

This deck was uploaded a couple days ago by Rings user TheChad, who is also one of the hosts on Cardboard of the Rings.

First Impressions

The idea behind this is to start in Secrecy, get the board fairly well set up, then drop back down to secrecy with the departure of Folco, play the rest of the secrecy cards that have built up in your hand, then play Gandalf and his town to push towards the end of the game. I love this idea. Most pre-Folco secrecy decks relied on luck to get those secrecy cards in hand early before there was no going back below 21. The idea of Gandalf popping up with all his attachments and wrecking the last half of the quest sounds dramatic too!

folco the grey list.JPG

Test 1 – Journey Down the Anduin

This deck seemed a good match for Journey Down the Anduin as I would have plenty of time before I had to engage the Hill Troll. The little orc enemies with 10 engagement cost gave me a little difficulty early in the game, but I had time to build up before getting anywhere near the magic 30 (32 with Pippin). Side note: Pippin’s ability is actually less strong with 2 heroes!

The available willpower numbers built up, but not as fast as I may have liked. I I had to sit at stage 1 for a good 8 turns or so before I felt good about going on to stage 2. I found myself wishing for Faramir to show up! Once he hits the table, the willpower seems about right. The deck got hit hard by a double Necromancer’s Reach on the first turn in stage 2 which hurt, but didn’t clear the board by any means.

folco the grey double reah

The Necromancer grabbed me with both hands at once!

With 24 allies in the deck,Timely aid never whiffed for me, but with only six copies of “big” allies in the deck, I often settled for a smaller ally. The Master of the Forge helps thin the deck of attachments and helps Timely Aid be a more sure bet.

folco the grey timely aid

Once Faramir was on the board I blasted through stage 2 in two turns and had no trouble killing off the few enemies that came out on stage 3. A solid win.

Folco the Grey JdtA win

A motley army!

Test  2 – Ruins of Belegost

This quest can be fickle and cruel and I wasn’t able to beat it after 3 tries. The hardest thing about this quest is it can deny you treasures turn after turn and the dragon will eat you all up but only if your threat is 20 or more. I did get lucky on one play and found the Keys of Belegost which let my bypass the horrible trial of the Lurker, but after that I found nothing but Hazards and once my threat hit 20 (again), I had to play Gandalf to help me manage combat, then my threat went up faster, more enemies started pestering me and I started to implode at turn 11.

folco the grey turn 11

I played it another time, but I got locked up with high threat enemies I couldn’t chew through which blocked my progress on the location which gave the Lurker time to grab my allies, then Naurlhug would have come out and made matters worse… I stopped here:

Folco the grey loss against belegost

Three tries and no wins.

Test 3 – Escape from Umbar

I could see good power in the deck, but Belegost was too unforgiving, so I put it up against a more traditional quest that still pushes the deck to move along.

folco the grey escape from Umbar

With Henamarth Riversong on the table on turn 1, I was able to manage this quest fairly well. This deck paired very well with this quest, able to quest well when it needed to and take a turn to finish off some enemies when they came up. The large challenge here was the direct damage (same issue that really shut down Belegost in one play). There aren’t a lot of hitpoints to go around here so archery damage and the archer’s direct damage were hard to manage. Ioreth managed admirably until Warden of Healing came into play.

The quest wasn’t a pushover, but I was mostly in control. There was one exception when the “cannot ready” shadow hit my 7 defense Sam mid-game with 2 enemies engaged and 6 archery to distribute.

Again, I spent the majority of the game on stage one carefully powering up, then when Faramir came into play, I was able to race through stage 2 in one turn.

I played Gandalf in the midgame so I could kill off some enemies that were piling up, but the balance of threat worked out OK.

Card Choices

I found myself with duplicate uniques in hand more than I would have wished. This style of deck has lots of part and needs to be consistent so 3x Gandalfs, 2x Treebeard etc aren’t bad, but I think Daeron’s Runes would be great card to help with this issue. If you look at at the Escape from Umbar screenshot, 5 of 8 cards are totally dead in my hand.vThe deck has some space since we have 3x We are Not Idle. I would just switch out We Are Not Idle for Daeron’s Runes.

Peace and Thought is a solid card here. With the Greenwood Archer and plenty of Fast Hitches, the cost of exhausting two heroes isn’t really that high and the 5 cards into hand is always worth it.

I found myself not needing Elf-Stone very often. With plenty of opportunities to get Resourceful down and not that many expensive allies, it didn’t feel needed. Out of all the games I played, I was only able to play it once.

With Ioreth and Warden of Healing in the deck, House of Healing could be played for 3, but I wouldn’t count it as a must-include. Folco might not be worth 3!

Final Analysis

This is a solid deck but it takes a few turns to set up. I like the fact that it starts at 18 threat which gives you several solid turns to get your secrecy cards out before you even need to start thinking about discarding Folco. Having Gandalf show up and start blasting things is extremely fun, and the decision on when to pull the Gandalf trigger is entertaining. It can’t necessarily muster the massive endgame numbers that a power-deck might want, but that’s not always the goal.

Thanks to Chad for posting this deck! It’s great to see so many new viable decks inspired by a no-name Hobbit hero!

If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of the Cardboard of the Rings podcast, you can find many episodes with Chad hosting over on their website, and you should really check out their Facebook page and Discord server.

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